Weaning the client of the comfort zone

This week is a prime example of how a client relationship that has been fostered so well over the years that when they have an event where I can not be there, there is a small sense of panic.  This is a client that I interact with on a weekly basis and always stay on top of current issues that could affect them.  I frequently email them forecasts of possible issues in the country that could affect them and their very important members.

Late last week, I was informed that one of their members had a possible issue whereby disparaging emails and correspondence was sent to his/her company as well as my client.  My client was alarmed because the CEO who received the emails would be traveling soon. I spoke to his/her head of security and he advised that they had done a full work up on the individual that wrote the emails and found him as a non threat.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch [my client], there was a sense of uncomfortableness due to the fact that I was not going to be leading the detail this week.

The CEO of my client asked their event manager to ascertain what extra measures we would employ in my absence.  I spoke to the event manager and informed her that Mark actually had more experience with them than I did.  In fact Mark managed the EP for this client before I took it over.  When he lived on the west coast, they had become used to my constant interaction and proactive response to their every need.  I assured her that she and the company were in good hands.  In the middle of all of this I could see that Mark was putting an extra step in his cadence to further put them at ease.  This was at no request of my own but his ability to understand client psychology and what they needed.  That comes from years or experience and knowing when you have to step in an add just a little more spice for them to know that the recipe has not changed just because the head chef is not in the kitchen.

Yesterday evening another head of security contacted the event manager for my client asking questions about possible protests in the area.  She passed him off to Mark.  Mark’s response showed both of them that we were far ahead of the curve when it came to the intel that they needed.  I had no doubt that another thing Mark would do was get on station well before it was time to go hot.  At 0530 am I got a short burst “OM”, which meant he was Oscar Mike to the location.  He will be way ahead of his report time but I already know what he has planned without even confirming him.  When a client arrives and you are already on station, it is an immediate sense of relief if there is any stress already built up.  Him being there well before his due time assures them that they have nothing to worry about.

A couple of years ago I realized that I had been lucky when it came to missing scheduling conflicts between clients that want me with them all the time.  Some is due to a sense of security comfort, some is from a sense of privacy comfort and others know how meticulous I am with every detail.  I knew that as busy as we are there would come days like this.  The silver lining in this is that now there won’t be any issues with me not being there for this client if I am committed to another.

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